Kellogg Offers Sneak Peek At 2021 MBA Jobs Report

Kellogg Class of 2021 MBAs earned median salaries of $150K and bonuses of $30K. The former represents a $6,000 increase from the Class of 2020.

Northwestern Kellogg School of Management won’t release its full MBA Class of 2021 employment report until next month. But on Wednesday (November 17) the school offered a glimpse at some of the highlights from the forthcoming report via a blog post by Liza Kirkpatrick, assistant dean of Kellogg’s Career Management Center. Kirkpatrick reveals that outcomes for the class were consistent with strong placement and pay figures reported by Kellogg’s peer schools, including three others (so far) in the M7.

Kirkpatrick reports that 97.1% of Kellogg’s two-year MBA graduates in 2021 received offers by three months after graduation, up from 95% last year, and 96.1% accepted, up from 93%. Pay also climbed, with median starting salaries up to $150,000 from $144,000, leading to a 2.1% uptick in total compensation, to $175,800 from $172,200. Bonuses, which 86% of grads reported receiving, were the same at a median of $30,000.

“This is a class who, when confronted with the unprecedented disruption of a pandemic, persevered and ultimately made Kellogg history,” Kirkpatrick writes.


Liza Kirkpatrick is assistant dean of Kellogg’s career management center

How do Kellogg’s 2021 employment numbers compare to other M7 schools? They fit the pattern of a strong rebound. Chicago Booth saw both median salaries and bonuses increase, leading to an overall compensation total of $178,450, up 4.9% from a year ago.

MIT reports steady salaries and bonuses and a big leap in “other” compensation, which skyrocketed from a median of $11,000 to $34,000, powering Sloan School MBAs to an 8.5% jump in total compensation: $195,600, up from from $180,223.

And the Wharton School’s report, released a week ago, shows that by late summer nearly all of the school’s 585 grads seeking jobs were working or had received offers of work. Wharton’s 99% offer rate after three months set a new school record and closed the books on the 2020 mark of 93.5% offers after 90 days.

No doubt the remaining three M7 jobs reports will cement the narrative of the pandemic as a past-tense issue when it comes to MBA job prospects. We shouldn’t have long to wait to find out. Harvard Business School and Columbia Business School are expected to release their 2021 jobs reports by the end of November; however, Stanford Graduate School of Business won’t release its report until January, a school spokesperson says.


Covid-19 was a world-changing event that graduate business education will be contending with for a long time. But in terms of MBA employment, some schools, particularly the elite, maintained the reputation of the MBA as a degree that improves the lives of its bearers. Northwestern Kellogg was certainly one of those schools.

Even as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted graduation and recruitment in 2020, Kellogg managed to get the vast majority of its MBAs hired, with 95% of the Class of 2020 receiving offers three months after graduation (down from 2019’s mark of 98%), and 93% accepted (down from 95%). Kellogg grads also received a record-high median base salary of $144,000 and median signing bonus of $30,000. Not bad under the circumstances, especially compared to Kellogg’s peers and other U.S. B-schools.

Consulting was king at Kellogg once again in 2020, only more so, jumping 8 percentage points from the previous year. Thirty-nine percent of Kellogg Class of 2020 MBAs went to work in the industry, equalling the next two sectors — technology and finance — combined. Tech was second at 25%, down a point from 2019, while finance snapped back to its 2018 mark of 14% after a surge last year.


In 2021, Kirkpatrick writes, "Kellogg students continue to secure jobs across a variety of industries and functions, with consulting, tech, and finance being the most popular. This year, 37% of 2Y students went into consulting, with a median base salary of $165,000. Nearly 100 Kellogg 2Y students were hired by top consulting firms, including Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company, and Bain & Company. In fact, this year McKinsey hired a record 50 students from our 2Y class — up from 30 students in 2020.

"Up from 2020, tech remains students’ second most popular industry, with 26% of 2Y students securing roles in big firms like Amazon, Apple and Microsoft Corporation, as well as smaller startups, like NerdWallet. We also saw an exciting increase in hiring from Google this year, hiring 14 2Y students, up from seven students last year. Students who accepted tech roles received a median base salary of $134,250.

"Additionally, 15% of 2Y students secured roles in finance, with a median base salary of $150,000. Private Equity and Venture Capital remain top recruiting areas due to strong student interest and specifically a growing passion for startups and entrepreneurship. Our students landed roles in VC and PE firms, including Hearst Ventures, Urban Innovation Fund and Alpine Investors. Additionally, this year, Kellogg’s team won the Venture Capital Investment Competition, the world’s largest venture capital competition. The team delivered Kellogg’s first global win — beating out 84 teams from around the world."


Kirkpatrick writes that across industries, feedback from recruiters of Kellogg MBAs has been consistent: "Top firms, she writes, "specifically seek out Kellogg students for their distinct strength as leaders coupled with their mastery of business fundamentals. This was reflected in recruiters’ feedback from a range of industries, but I want to share the message we received from Joanna Walker from Evercore, an investment banking firm: 'We continue to come back to Kellogg to find students who are curious, demonstrate their analytical and problem-solving skills and enjoy working on teams.'"

Those are qualities that set Kellogg students apart to recruiters, Kirkpatrick writes, but they do more than that: They help them "to make long-lasting impact throughout their careers." She points out that one of those impacts is helping their alma mater: The school saw a 34% increase from last year in alumni-sourced job opportunities on the Kellogg Job Board for second-year students, which translates to more than 330 jobs in a class of around 470.

"While we will continue to see industries and firms adapt and change due to the ongoing pandemic and shifts in the broader business landscape," she writes, "what remains constant is the caliber of our students. Kellogg students have the ability to adapt, an appetite for disruption, and the necessary skills to lead in an increasingly complex global economy. I look forward to seeing how they continue to make their impact as alumni, and pay it forward to the rising leaders at Kellogg."


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